Looking for advice, Fluted/ non-fluted

Discussion in 'The Basics, Starting Out' started by box creek, Aug 6, 2010.

  1. box creek

    box creek Member

    Jul 20, 2010
    I am going to buy a Savage Weather Warrior .300 win, and have a choice of fluted or not. The barrel is 26inch heavy sportier .700 inch at the muzzle. I would like to know what you guys with more experience think. I will use the gun for elk hunting & long range shooting.

  2. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

    Jul 29, 2004
    Fluted barrels look good but do nothing for accuracy and they don't remove much weight
    so the choice is yours based on what you like .

    A non fluted barrel one size smaller is about the same weight and is just as strong.

    I personally don't like to flute barrels that are any lighter than the varmint weight barrels
    because of the potential of causing the barrel to be off center to center. (Strait).

    Don't get me wrong I have and like fluted barrels. But they have there place and add to
    the price of the rifle.


  3. royinidaho

    royinidaho Writers Guild

    Jan 20, 2004
    What J E said is correct but.....they do look sexier.:D
  4. SBruce

    SBruce Well-Known Member

    Oct 31, 2009
    Personally, I like fluted barrels. But I am talking about barrels that measure .85 or bigger at the muzzle.

    If your gun is already a .7, fluting is probably not going to be of much if any benefit, because thats already fairly light in a 30 cal.......IMO.

    MTBULLET Well-Known Member

    Jul 16, 2007
    I have ,and use, both. one "test" I did was with .300 RUM, the "harmonics" changed after fluting, I had to move the Simms Vibration dampner further toward the muzzle after fluting, (pac Nor BBl.) and rifle seems to shoot a little tighter now.
  6. BobbyL

    BobbyL Well-Known Member

    Dec 15, 2008
    I have to agree and disagree with you here. I would not flute a barrel that is that small you could only really get .05 deep with the flutes and they would do very little good.

    Now we use a harmonic stress relief that allows me to measure the harmonics in the barrels. The harmonics in a fluted barrel are less and they stress relief much quicker. I cant say that it does help for sure but from what this thing is telling me there is a good chance that is gives a little strength to the barrel. Also with fluting you are creating more surface area on a barrel which should in turn allow for faster cooling.
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2010
  7. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

    Jul 29, 2004
    Not to start an argument but when you say it does help accuracy then why doesn't the
    bench rest guys use them.

    If they were better they would all have fluted barrels.

    I am a metallurgist and speed of stress relieving temperatures is fixed and the hold time is what gives it it's desired
    effect so speed is not an option for a proper stress relief.

    Also a #5+ (Lilja barrel is .700 at the muzzle) is able to handel fluting well. I think Lilja will flute down to a #4 . Some other barrel makers use a different number system for there barrels and
    there #5 may be to small.

    I like the Lilja size system because it relates to factory barrels all the way down to the ultra
    light barrels of mountain rifles and some of the Weatherby buggy whips (They are a # 2

    So I will stay with my original statement that for the long range Shooter they are not any
    better They just look better to some people.

    Last edited: Aug 6, 2010
  8. straightshooter

    straightshooter Well-Known Member

    Dec 12, 2007
    Just a question, say a guy is trying to build a rifle only weight of 10lbs, wouldn't you get a stiffer barrel if you used a larger diameter barrel and flute it? For example if I was to put on a fluted number 8 which weighed the same as a non fluted 7. Bench rest shooters, don't have to worry about weight as much as every one else, so yeah, a non fluted barrel is the way to go, but if weight is an issue, fluting has some advantages. I have shot both fluted and non fluted barrels and the fluted have been the most accurate. Now was that because they were fluted or just because they were heavier to start with? Again this is one of those things where what works for one guy has no place for another. Personally I don't think fluting has much play on accuracy or not. You get what you pay for. Who wants to trade me a Shilen number 5 straight across for a fluted number 8 take off barrel? Or who wants to trade me a Shilen 8 fluted straight across for a number 5 take off barrel?
  9. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

    Jul 29, 2004
    The best thing I can tell you is to log on the Lilja site and under FAQs Dan has a very good
    explanation and comparison between fluted and non fluted Barrels.

    So don't take my word for it ,Because I'm am not a barrel maker, go strait to the barrel maker
    and get your answer.

    I had some bad experiences with fluted barrels and for a long time I would not build a tomato
    stake with flutes much less a rifle. After talking to Lilja and having him explain the reasons that
    I had had bad experiences with fluted barrels (Not his) It was just bad fluting and he
    guaranteed me that if it were done right that they had little or no effect on accuracy and since
    I tried one of his fluted barrels My mind has been changed.

    I have quite a few fluted barrels now and I am very happy with them. strangely enough though
    the very best(Most accurate) rifles/pistols I have are all non fluted. (Coincident?) maybe , but
    when rifles shoot 1/10 of an inch groups I consider that good enough.

    I have lots of fluted rifles that shoot 1/4 MOA so the difference is not much if any.

    To build a rifle of a certain weight it is best to put the right components together not just the
    barrel . Example: There are scopes that weigh less that 2 pounds and there are other ones
    that weigh over 4 pounds.

    So if you build a rifle that weighs 5.1/2 pounds and then hang a 4 pound scope on it you end
    up with a heavy rifle.

    Fluting is not the answer to weight because a fluted barrel will only reduce the weight by less
    than 1/2 a pound and a fluted # 7 weighs as much as a plain #6 and is no stronger.

    So look for a lighter scope, rings,bases,stocks if weight is a problem.

    Just my opinion for what it's worth.

    Last edited: Aug 7, 2010
  10. BobbyL

    BobbyL Well-Known Member

    Dec 15, 2008
    I didnt say it helped accuracy. I stated that the harmonics were different on a fluted barrel and that its measurable on the machine i have.

    Not sure what you mean by speed but what we do works and works very well to take out stress/stabilize barrel harmonics. Which ever it is it works and i can prove it.

    When fluting a barrel we like to leave at least a .15" wall over the bore size on each size for safety reasons. You might be able to push that close to .1 but its not something we will do.

    Dont worry about starting a argument I dont mind being told that im wrong or why. I just ask that there is good evidence and proof or just a very logical agument.

    There is a ton of different factors that go into account of why a gun may or may not be amazingly accurate. Thats why people will tell you do whatever is making it work. There is to many factors that can change how well it performs. But what im trying to do is get rid of as many as possible to make things alot more simply for everyone.

    For the statement that Benchresters dont use fluted barrel that is true but i have put together more then a few 11 pound guns for the hunter class that can rival what even the heavy guns do on a fairly consistent basis. Yes there is a draw back having to get them that light you do tend to heat the barrel up enough that its tough to get 10 shot groups but it seems like we are doing pretty good. BR guys will stick to what they believe in not exactly what works. Yes there is usually some good grounds for what they do i just dont believe they are the say all for what is right or wrong.

  11. head2h2o

    head2h2o Well-Known Member

    Nov 11, 2008
    I went back and forth with this same debate on a build I am doing now. After some research, the only thing that I could conclude that I would get with fluting the barrel was a barrel with flutes. I never was convinced it was going to help anything, so I decided not to flute the barrel.
  12. Gitthatdawg

    Gitthatdawg Active Member

    Jun 21, 2010
    i am having a barrel made and did not have it fluted. I had talked to my wife and was calling in the morning to get the sprial flutes but now i will keep the money. Well not keep it it will find a place with the gun build
  13. Rockfish Dave

    Rockfish Dave Well-Known Member

    Dec 21, 2008
    First: A good discussion on barrels and such here: Link

    Second: I think there is no magic pixie dust to make a rifle shoot more accurately... It is the combination of the training and practice of the shooter and the quality and attention to detail that the parts are chosen, assembled and fitted.

    That said, half a pound to me is significant. If I can take a heavier contoured barrel at the weight of a lessor contoured barrel that is a win in my book.

    I'm going for a practical rifle competition rifle for my current build. I wanted something that I can also take hog hunting so weight is a consideration in both scenarios but not as important as if I were hunting Dall Sheep in Alaska then weight would be extremely important. Durability and repeatability from multi shot strings is more important since I will not be lugging it around for a week in hopes of just squeezing off one shot.

    To pass off fluting with one broad stoke of a brush is somewhat reckless.

    Do flutes make any sense to a bench rest competitor? Probably not since weight is their friend. That could be why you do not see flutes in mass on bench rest rifles (plus the extra mass will minimize whip, vibration, and take longer for heat to build up due to the extra mass).

    I started reading this thread (as I do many of the threads here) with the expectation of learning something new. Unfortunately it turned into a narrow focused, opinion based rant against flutes...
  14. TnTom

    TnTom Well-Known Member

    Dec 12, 2009
    No evidence to support my thought about why a fluted barrel might have some advantage. I think it cools faster, my thoughts are to shoot it at a rate that keeps a barrel at a constant temperature. Ive noticed shooting a non fluted barrel that it gets a feel of being heavy and the temperatures seem to trend to hotter than I like. I'd like to rig some kind of temperature measuring device and see what the difference is over 10 and 20 round groups.

    Does a barrel have a temperature sweet spot? After I've shot 10 rounds and the then hold the barrel a fluted barrel doesnt feel as hot as a non fluted barel. May be my imagination.

    I think with an event like High Power 600 yd Midrange shooting a fluted barrel would have an advantage using a bolt rifle though most matches are typically shot with ar's or F-Class using a bolt gun.

    I think a hunting rifle when 1 or 2 shots are made temperature is a non issue and a lighter gun is nice to carry a long ways (even if only in your mind).

    I think fluted barrels have their place but I don't think I'll ever see a H&H .600 something with flutes.